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Should the Seahawks re-sign Ethan Pocic? - Part 3

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Seattle Seahawks v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The data illiterate love sharing factoids with the data illiterate. If the popularity of this graphic indicates anything, that’s probably most people.

Let’s begin with the obvious. I did not know Lids was still in business. Did you? Why would anyone in 2022 pay a brick and mortar middleman a markup? Most everything can be bought directly—jerseys certainly can.

Despite the title of this infographic, this is the not the top selling NBA jersey by state. It’s the top selling jersey at Lids by state. That could represent any percentage of total sales. When you see Yao Ming and Mike Bibby as top sellers, chances are Lids represents a tiny fraction of sales in those states. Montana has one Lids location. One. People in a state bigger than Germany with a diffuse population barely exceeding a million probably don’t often drive 10 hours to the Rimrock Mall in Billings.

Data illiteracy is how we’ve reached a point where opposing and mutually exclusive opinions can seem equally supported, and the only taboo position to take is one that is not polarized but open, questioning and moderate.

Back to Pocic before I resume the laborious business of provisioning my bunker in anticipation of World War III. I kid. I’m never well prepared.

Speaking of data illiteracy, I’ll cover this more in the conclusion, but I’m aware that evaluating one game against a floundering team that was blown to smithereens the very next week by the Rams does not represent an all-encompassing analysis of Ethan Pocic. I considered sampling drives from different games but that comes with its own problems. For instance, given that I’ve already watched every game multiple times, I may unwittingly bias which drives I select.

I will not, in the end, be able to perfectly evaluate Pocic or his value as a free agent. Injury prone players are also prone to dramatic declines in performance, even if they’re nominally healthy. Obviously I like this guy, and I’ve championed the cause of not giving up on him for years. That biases my interpretation of the tape. But given the reasonable level of parity one finds in the league, my willingness to evaluate every play from the game, the transparency of my method, and the fact that I always present the evidence alongside the data, I think this is a solid way of tackling the problem.

It also isn’t an ungodly burden on my free time. Which is important because I am writing this for free. If anyone wishes to gainfully employ me, I could easily do a whole team in a couple days. If the Seahawks are willing to give BJ Finney, Quinton Dunbar and Kerry Hyder, among others, millions on the advice of some two-bit fraudsters with a Twitter following, I’m sure they could afford the five figures it would take to get real intel from me.


11:44) R.Penny right tackle to SEA 27 for 2 yards (B.Baker).

Incredible play in run support by Budda Baker—Rashaad Penny adroitly esses through a nice seam forming between left guard and tackle. Damien Lewis, Pocic, and Phil Haynes et al (Curhan!) have shifted the bulk of the defense hard to the right. Duane Brown is soundly schooled by Chandler Jones, but that failed assignment probably doesn’t matter if Baker doesn’t sprint to the hole and land a form tackle on Penny.

Pocic angle blocks Leki Fotu effectively. You can see the level of control he has in the skip-like steps Foku takes at the end of the play. It indicates Pocic is under him and, if not completely, lifting Foku off his feet. But Budda gonna Budda. Great safety play is a joy to watch.

(11:17) R.Wilson pass incomplete short middle to G.Everett [C.Jones].

I will take a wild stab at this and guess Gerald Everett didn’t have a clue as to what he was supposed to do here. He blocks Jones for a nanosecond before not so much running a route as just running. Wilson boots directly into Jones, and that’s all she wrote. The official scorekeeper determines that Everett was the target, but whether it was Everett, Colby Parkinson, or the right hash mark is a mystery as profound and unsolvable as Zeno’s arrow.

Pocic pulls an easy assignment on Michael Dogbe. He shows quick feet and a good ability to angle block, but it’s clear Dogbe is controlling his gap playing the run. So this is a gimme. Dogbe is schemed into irrelevance. When he finally figures out what’s going on and turns toward Wilson, Lewis pops him. Wilson flings it incomplete before unwillingly auditioning for a jobber role in the WWE.

(11:13) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass short right to T.Homer to 50 for 23 yards (B.Borders).

The blocking here is a confusing mess. The play is salvaged by Ryan Stiles levels of improv by Wilson and Travis Homer. Despite all the confusion created by Zach Allen (#94) attacking two gaps to his right, most of the pass rush is created by Jones beating Brown badly on an inside move. Brown recovers, but by then Wilson’s past waiting for another opportunity to be violently assaulted. He dances to daylight.

Homer is able to briefly delay Jordan Hicks with a block, but when that goes south, he shows good awareness to shadow Wilson on an improvised out route.

As for Pocic: he whiffs on Allen, but that doesn’t matter because Lewis ably picks him up. And while I can’t award him full credit, so to speak, Pocic’s heads up ability to turn 360 and see and block Marcus Golden flying free for a likely play-ending shot on Wilson is vital to this working.

Not how this was drawn up, and not really good execution of pass blocking overall by Seattle, what we see above is nevertheless a lot of gutty, heads-up play which results in a long, drive-sustaining completion.

(10:27) T.Lockett right end to ARI 48 for 2 yards (M.Golden).

Tyler Lockett has every right to self-protectively go down. And I have every right to point out that he probably left a lot of yards on the field doing so. There’s a good hole there that Lockett does not turn into. Byron Murphy may reside at the end of that opening, but Murphy’s blown more than one tackle in every ten attempts. Not every team gets a Deebo Samuel or Cooper Kupp, but if Lockett doesn’t feel safe running this kind of play, I hope Seattle unburdens him with the responsibility. According to Pro Football Reference Lockett has four broken tackles total in the last four years. Deebo had 13 last year; Kupp, 10.

Pocic pretty much owns his matchup against Rashard Lawrence. A Lawrence hasn’t been this embarrassed since Peter O’Toole vamped and minced all over the celluloid.

(Funny the bigoted dreck of yesteryear that’s sold to later generations as Art. Lest you think I am unfairly criticizing a work from another era, know that playwright Noel Coward commented of O’Toole’s performance that “If you’d been any prettier, it would have been Florence of Arabia.” Yep, folks, it was offensive then too. Which is probably the best defense of cancel culture I can muster. Assholes have been getting away with heinous shit way too long. What’s the harm if a few of ‘em get shitcanned?)

Good play call, good execution, but Lockett is not the right guy to run it here.

(9:56) R.Wilson pass incomplete short left to D.Metcalf.

Blown blocks by Curhan and Everett; Brown with nothing to do; a corner blitz recognized too late; and another scud by Wilson. This play has it all. Pocic doesn’t do a whole lot. Should someone have seen the corner was going to blitz? Maybe, but I do not think so. Should Wilson have been able to quickly diagnose the blitz and target DK for a big gain? Definitely.

There’s fault to go around, but no one made Wilson wait two beats before one-hopping it to Metcalf.

(Microsoft’s X-Box Game Bar has been in rare form today. Refusing to even come up, no matter what I do. Which may explain some of my saltiness, because that’s how I capture clips. I’ve already restarted my computer five times attempting to get this thing working. But damn if I’m not going to show you the sideline angle. Here I go again attempting to get a basic function of this damn computer to work at all.)

Diagnosing and punishing a corner blitz can’t be beyond the scope of a quarterback with over 10,000 snaps under his belt.

(9:52) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass deep right to D.Metcalf to ARI 17 for 31 yards (J.Thompson).

Vance Joseph gets cute. Wilson punishes him immediately. Proof that it wasn’t just Ken Norton Jr. putting big uglies in bad spots. In Joseph’s defense, Zach Allen got a pick in 2021. Not one of Poona Ford, Rasheem Green, Al Woods, Bryan Mone, Alton Robinson, LJ Collier, Robert Nkemdiche, Kerry Hyder or Benson Mayowa has ever intercepted a pass in the regular season.

This is a thoroughly weird play call by Joseph. Baker is taken out of coverage. Seattle’s offensive line parts like the Red Sea giving Wilson the kind of space and throwing lane he usually only sees during the precision passing event at the Pro Bowl. Metcalf is matched in man against a safety. Isaiah Simmons is tasked with impossible to achieve underneath coverage. Joseph could not have given Wilson more advantages.

All so Dee Eskridge can be tripled on a shallow crosser!

(9:05) R.Penny right end to ARI 17 for no gain (M.Dogbe).

A disorganized double team of Haynes and Pocic against Dogbe doesn’t work. Pocic quickly loses Dogbe after Haynes releases into the second level. Haynes never finds anyone to block. And though Allen, Golden and Devon Kennard all get a shot at him, Dogbe is the one to wrap Penny’s legs and secure the tackle.

Damn if I know what Eskridge was doing or was supposed to be doing. He looks like he’s chaperoning Kennard to the ball carrier. If Curhan wasn’t pancaked by Golden, maybe that doesn’t matter, but he was and it did. It is said the Titanic sunk not because of a gaping hole but many irreparable cracks in its hull.

(8:23) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass incomplete deep middle to C.Parkinson.

The pass looks inaccurate but I think Parkinson should have straightened out to better exploit the space between defenders. This is a good pass if he had.

Pocic does a good job of helping out Haynes, but given the Labour of Hercules Lewis seems to be enduring against Dogbe, he may have been better breaking right. This one’s for Pumpkin: Who’s to say?

I do see promise in Parkinson. He’s a young 23, and while for the second season he didn’t do much, trusting him to make the leap may be the kind of smart gamble Seattle needs to take. Renton may have hustle bones comin’ out its mouth, but it sure as shit ain’t got draft picks comin’ out of anywhere. Some of these borderline busts of past drafts need to course correct fast or 2022’s burning up in the atmosphere.

(8:19) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass short right to C.Parkinson to ARI 5 for 12 yards (B.Borders) [Z.Allen].

Another guileless Josephinian quasi-blitz amounts to nothing. Wilson runs himself into pass rush, but not before spotting Parkinson and connecting for a mean 12 up the right sideline.

Pocic doesn’t have much to do. But sensing Wilson might be scrambling—perhaps even hearing him run up behind him—and planting another blocker on Fotu to bracket him is, well, fine. A good way to get involved. Maybe Wilson doesn’t have such an easy escape route if he doesn’t.

Golden and Jones whip Curhan and Brown, but the schemed out interior rush makes that irrelevant.

(7:45) (No Huddle, Shotgun) R.Wilson pass short right to T.Lockett for 5 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Decisive read, good timing, perfect placement—Wilson connects with Lockett for the score. Good use of a moving pocket to aid Wilson’s vision and draw in the underneath coverage. Brown is again soundly beat. God knows what Curhan is up to. Depth! Depth! Develop some damn depth, Seattle.

Pocic does a great job of teeing up Allen for a gnarly knock by Jackson. Where often that leads to a lineman with nothing to do, Pocic deftly pivots and picks up Fotu’s inside shoulder completing the double team with Damien. Alliteration is my brain’s way of signaling that it’s dying.